Today I’d like to tell you about something called the “Kubler-Ross Model of Grief” consisting of the five stages one experiences while dealing with the loss of a loved one, or any other form of loss. The five stages include, in this order, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance. You may be thinking; “wouldn’t the heavy burden of death plunge you straight into the fourth stage?” well the facts are , grief is not as much a falling off a cliff, but more like a steep mountain side covered in jagged obstacles and traps, which unfortunately is all the more painful. The first stage is denial, and though the Kubler Ross model can be applied to a numerous array of situations, I will be associating these example around loss for the sake of simplicity. In the first stage you may deny that your friend, or relative, (etc.) is dead, denying that their death is even possible, most often associated with thoughts like “They can’t be dead” or “It must be a dream”. These are fine examples of the first stage, also notice that the first stage clearly contradicts the fifth stage of Acceptance, if you are reading this on a computer or if you have a dictionary, go ahead and look up “Denial” and you may find Acceptance (or a synonym there of) to be listed as one of its antonyms. This proves the model of grief to be a journey towards acceptance and also means that the only way to quell this pain is to trek through the other four stages, to remain in denial would only worsen your plight. The second stage is Anger, this occurs after you begin to realize that he/she really IS dead, and that you can’t do anything about it. The thought itself if so frustrating, and what avenue do you have to exert it? You can’t take out your rage on the reaper itself can you? So you’re left to exert your rage on the rest of the world. The third stage, Bargaining may seem out of place, but in all truth, it is extremely relevant and dangerous. In the context that your own life is in danger, argo your grief, you may become tempted to take any avenue to extend your own life just a little bit longer, sometimes becoming traitorous in doing so, in the event that you’re in grieving, you may begin to bargain for escape routes, things to keep your mind off of death. Things like drug addiction, gambling, and adrenalin addiction can be results of the third stage. The fourth, and by far the most infamous and intimidating stage by far; Depression, unlike the other stages, where you often choose to progress, you can just as easily be forced into the fourth stage, when those bargains fail or when you no longer can sustain your flow of money/drugs/adrenalin you may unwillingly fall into the fourth stage, therefore the expression; slipping into depression. This stage is extensive, and overwhelming, no wonder depression has been universally indentified as a mental disease, something that is curable, but not done so easily, depression is something that requires more than medication to overcome and is in truth the outlier of the kubler-ross model, typically, in order to progress from stage one through three, all you need to do is gin and bare while restraining yourself from temptation, but the is no easy way out through Depression. Think of it like a massive road covered by a thick wall of fog and mud, trapping you confusing you, pulling you deeper into it, until the only foreseeable exit is death itself. And once you reach the end of that road you meet a massive wall, spanning forever on either side, this wall represents Depression itself, in truth you may never scale it alone, you will need the help of friends and family to guide you, to lift over this wall. If you learn anything from this article, I want it to be that this road you find yourself on, is not a trail you have to walk alone. And finally the fifth and final stage; Acceptance, the crowned jewel of the Kubler-Ross model, the end result of all your struggles, like a tower, beginning with death and ending with enlightenment, an answer that you can’t learn from someone else, but can only be revealed to you, BY YOU. For all of my video game savvy readers, think of acceptance as the final dungeon in a long hard video game, though the end result may seem humble, it will mean so much more to you than anyone else, after all, you are the one who fought to get there, and when it seemed impossible you still achieved the undoable. The fifth stage does not represent life, on the contrary, it very much symbolizes death, but in the end it represents you and death coming to peace, to accept that death and life are not separate forms but are two sides of the same coin. Death and grief will always be a part of us, but through acceptance we can live through it, we can exist despite loss and death and exist beside and as a part of both darkness and light. And as you scale the final steps of your journey, you will be called upon to recall your first steps through denial, all the way through depression, no matter the pain of recollection, you must know that pain as part of your victory and remember that no matter the damage that had been done, as long as you are alive you can always repair your life from the rubble. And unlike popular media culture like in animes and cartoons, the end result is never the return of the lost, but more of finding yourself, and realizing the future the dead had planned for you, the future of a prosperous life and a graceful death.
the world as I know it, part three, the anatomy of greif
January 12, 2014